At the Seattle Times, Crystal Paul reports on the controversy that has unfolded after the Seattle Public Library rented meeting space to an organization that's widely criticized for anti-trans rhetoric in its Central location downtown.
That organization, the Women's Liberation Front, which non-ironically refers to itself by the acronym WoLF, has made a habit of spreading their hateful, exclusionary message under the banner of "free speech." WoLF has spoken at the Heritage Foundation in what NBC News called an "anti-transgender panel." (Susan Shaw wrote a great response to that event in Ms. Magazine.) WoLF has repeatedly teamed up with conservative Christian groups to oppose trans rights and, as Rani Baker at LGBTQNation notes, their track record on actual feminist issues is suspect.
Back at the Seattle Times, Paul writes:
The Gender Justice League, a Seattle nonprofit that advocates for gender and sexuality justice, said in a statement they will speak with SPL leadership to help them consider the issue’s complexities.
“The end result of a hate group using the library as a venue to ‘critique’ the existence of a minority group creates a hostile environment and is unacceptable,” they wrote.
WoLF is not listed as a hate group in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s extensive documentation of such groups in the U.S. However, WoLF has frequently been referred to by others as a hate group or trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) group, including in an online editorial for *Out Magazine* by Chase Strangio, the deputy director for transgender justice with the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT & HIV Project.
The event is currently scheduled for February. In a statement, SPL City Librarian Marcellus Turner says WoLF presented the event "as a women’s rights talk and presentation," and that SPL is...
...exploring every option we have in response to this moment, talking to other libraries who have been through it, scheduling discussions with our transgender staff and community, and consulting with the City of Seattle’s legal department on our options.
If SPL allows WoLF to go through with their event, The Seattle Review of Books will share information about protests and provide resources for our trans neighbors. You cannot seriously claim to be for civil rights of any kind if your platform involves policies that dehumanize, terrorize, and shame another group.